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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

in which we pickled a shark

One of the only things I really missed about Florida while in France was beach evenings. Right now, the water in the gulf is hotter than a bathtub. The gentle, sloppy waves combined with the company of dolphins and sting rays makes it other worldly. We all float around in the soup until the last possible moment.

Then we beach comb. On this sojourn, we found a baby shark that had recently died (it had a small puncture wound on its head - maybe a bird?). It was too perfect a specimen to leave, so we did what we do. A little iPhone research and call for help on social media helped us decided that we would try to preserve the shark in isopropyl alcohol. (We need to have formalin on hand in the future!).

At 10 pm we pulled back into our center-of-the-state town and I flip flopped my sandy self into a Walgreens, loaded up my cart with alcohol and then asked the pharmacist for a syringe. "Any size will do," I casually said. "As long as I can use it to inject."

When we got home, we emptied and cleaned out our gallon popcorn jar and filled it up. We looked at the shark some more and then each kid took turns giving it shots. We were fascinated and saddened at the same time. But we thanked the shark for his life and hope he will live in our cabinet of curiosities for a long time. 

And of course this sparked all sorts of conversations. Most interesting was the Jersey Shore shark attacks of 1916; what an amazing story!


  1. Wow- what a neat find! How awesome of you to find a way to preserve it! I'm sure this will be something your children will share with their friends and family members for a long time to come!

  2. That is fantastic. What an interesting find. I bet it sparked many interesting conversations. Never though of pickling one.

  3. Wow, such an odd but cool thing to do.

  4. Great post, but I would think twice about having formalin on hand! Formalin is nothing but formaldehyde dissolved in water, and it's just as toxic and lethal as the pure stuff. Stick to the isopropanol—it's much safer.


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